But, as the 2010 squad took the field to take on the Central Dragons, they did not worry about the “what ifs” heading into the game. All they were worried about was playing football and getting a win to start the season.
After 48 minutes, what was thought to be a difficult game for the Bisons appeared to be a walk in the park as they dominated both sides of the football and defeated the Dragons in a 42-14 thrashing. The win would mark a milestone for Bison football as it would be the 500th win for the program.
In the locker room, head coach Tim Janocko reflected on what the win meant to Clearfield and to his team.
“I’m proud of the effort we had tonight. The 500th win for the program is quite an accomplishment, and the kids deserved it,” Janocko said. “This is what we worked so hard for over the summer.”
Working hard was an understatement as the Bisons held the Dragons to just 67 yards of total offense. Central didn’t earn a first down until late in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the offense got to work very early and very often thanks in big part to quarterback Curtis Frye. Whether it was putting the ball in the air to his receivers or using his quick feet to keep the ball on the ground, Frye was on a roll. He would end the night 17 for 22 passing with 216 yards, another 86 yards on the ground and four total touchdowns. Janocko was proud of his junior quarterback, but he was more impressed by his offensive line in how well they protected and blocked his star player.
“I thought our o-line tonight was outstanding. We had maybe seven or eight different kids in there and they just worked so well as a unit,” Janocko said.
“Obviously Frye had a big night and our receivers did exceptional. It was a great way to start the season.”
Frye had a lot of help on the ground as senior running back Derek Morgan showed his quick feet on many occasions, gaining a tough 52 yards and one touchdown on the night.
In the air, Frye’s favorite target would be Derek Danver as he caught a team-high six passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
For Central, it was a struggle all night long as no player stood out. The player many felt would be the hardest to contain was going to be Lucas Runk. However, he was very quiet on this night as he was only held to 42 yards rushing, with another 15 yards in passing, and one touchdown.
“I think Runk was put in during situations where Central felt they had a scoring opportunity,” Janocko said.
Both teams exchanged punts to start the game, but the Clearfield ground game would be what got the scoring started. After starting at the Central 40 yard-line, a quick run by Morgan followed by a deep pass to Danver put the Bisons on the nine. Two plays later, Frye found the end zone on a two-yard plunge. Zach Fannin added the extra point to give the Bisons an early 7-0 advantage.
But, on the kickoff, Janocko found the one weakness that would be exposed as the night progressed. The kickoff went to Adam Kreider, who caught the ball at the 19. He would then find a hole down the left sideline and scampered 81 yards to pay dirt. The extra point quickly tied the game back up.
“I saw a lot of good things tonight. You know, it’s the first game so there are going to be some things we need to clean up,” Janocko said. “That certainly is one of them.”
Following that return, the Bisons put on a clinic both offensively and defensively. Clearfield’s second possession saw Frye get to work in the air as he was able to hit Danver and Beau Swales for deep gains. A few short runs put them in a 3rd-and-8 situation on the Central 13. But, Frye was able to find Danver over the middle to get the first passing touchdown of the game. Fannin’s kick made it 14-7 with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Bison defense forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at their own 10. Not wanting to waste much time, Clearfield marched down the field on a combination of run and pass. After just getting into Dragon territory, Frye connected with Brandon Hogue over the middle for a big 39-yard gain to make it first and goal on the five. Morgan would finish the job as he would get the hand off to get his lone touchdown of the game. Fannin’s kick made it 21-7 just two minutes into the second quarter.
Another three-and-out by Central led the Dragons to punt, but Runk booted the ball all the way down to the Bison 7-yard line. Frye would use his passing game to lead his team to the opposing 34, but made his only mistake on a first down pass as he misread the defense, throwing the ball right into the hands of Dragon linebacker Matt Ritchey.
Unfortunately, the Dragons again went three-and-out which would end the first half.
The second half started the same way as Central went three plays and punted the ball to Clearfield. Frye would start his first drive of the second half on his own 33, but the pass game never failed him and they worked into the red zone. A false start put pressure on Frye to make a play, and that he did. After getting away from pressure, Frye let go a floating pass to the corner of the end zone. In the air, Danver leaped for the ball and made the grab, scoring his second touchdown of the game. Another Fannin extra point gave the Bisons a 28-7 lead.
Central finally put together a solid drive on the next possession, sticking to the run game and wearing down the Bison defense. Runk would manage to get into the end zone on a 13-yard run with just over a minute left in the third quarter. The ensuing extra point cut the lead in half 28-14.
In the fourth quarter, Clearfield decided to play it safe and put the ball in the hands of the run game to wear down the clock. The plan worked as the first drive of the quarter consisted of nothing but runs, capped off with Frye scoring on a quarterback sneak. With just over eight minutes left in the game, the lead was 35-14.
The Bison defense stayed on the field and had to deal with another long drive by the Dragons, but dug their feet in and got two consecutive sacks to force a turnover on downs.
For a majority of the final drive, the second-team offense had the ball, but provided one final highlight on the night. Sophomore Dylan Graham found a hole in the defense and broke into the secondary to get a 35-yard touchdown to put an exclamation point on the game.
Clearfield (1-0) won’t have long to savor the first win of the season. Next week is another tough task as they will host Bald Eagle Area. Janocko said to his team on the field, “We’re only going to get better.” In the locker room, he echoed that statement, but also knew it would not be an easy task.
“There aren’t any easy games in this league. But, we’re off to a good start.”
View more pictures courtesy clearfieldfootball.org — http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/090310game.html
BISONS: 2-yard run by Frye (Fannin kick) 6:48
DRAGONS: 81-yard kickoff return by Kreider (Mueller kick) 6:34
BISONS: 13-yard pass from Frye to Danver (Fannin kick) 3:11
BISONS: 5-yard run by Morgan (Fannin kick) 10:05
BISONS: 21-yard pass from Frye to Danver (Fannin kick) 5:14
DRAGONS: 13-yard run by Runk (Mueller kick) 1:04
BISONS: 1-yard run by Frye (Fannin kick) 8:12
BISONS: 35-yard run by Graham (Fannin kick) 1:10
TOTAL PLAYS: CN-45 CF-70
FIRST DOWNS: CN-8 CF-25
RUSH YARDS: CN-37 CF-217
PASS YARDS: CN-30 CF-216
PENALTIES: CN-5 CF-5
PENALTY YARDS: CN-15 CF-35
TOTAL YARDS: CN-67 CF-433
COMP/ATT/TD/INT: CN-7/13/0/0 CF-17/22/2/1
FUMBLES: CN-2 CF-0
FUMBLES LOST: CN-0 CF-0
TIME OF POSSESSION: CN-19:42 CF-28:18
CENTRAL: Runk-10 carries, 42 yards, TD; Keefer-5 carries, 32 yards
CLEARFIELD: Frye-16 carries, 86 yards, 2 TD; Morgan-12 carries, 52 yards, TD; Swales-6 carries, 31 yards; Graham-3 carries, 37 yards, TD
CENTRAL: Runk-3 for 8, 18 yards; Nothstein-2 for 5, 12 yards
CLEARFIELD: Frye-17 for 22, 216 yards, 2 TD, INT
CENTRAL: Kreider-3 receptions, 23 yards; Keefer-2 receptions, 5 yards
CLEARFIELD: Danver-6 receptions, 78 yards, 2 TD; Mellgard-3 receptions, 32 yards; Swales-2 receptions, 31 yards; Hogue-1 reception, 39 yards